Thread: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

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  1. #1
    Member tom_hanx's Avatar
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    Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    Hello awesome fellow members,

    I was browsing through an auction catalog to find a lot of items (watches) listed as "to be sold without reserve".

    Googling the phrase lead me to a legal dictionary which reads that "the courts will not enforce a contract against a purchaser".

    As the example given was referring to houses, I am wondering what does that mean for watches? That any bidder will have the option to walk away in a non-binding manner? That if you change your mind, you can call it off last minute?

    I am certain there are a few here who know the answer
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    Member LouS's Avatar
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    Normally, consigners to auctions set a low price below which the lot will not be sold. This is the reserve price. If bidding does not reach that level, the lot is not sold -- simple as that. If a piece is designated to be sold without reserve, it means that there is no low price, and the lot goes for whatever the high bid is.

  3. #3
    Omega Forum Moderator emmanuelgoldstein's Avatar
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    ^ +1

    Also bidding on an item in an auction is a legally binding contract. If you win the auction you are required to pay for said item.
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    Member John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    I was browsing through an auction catalog to find a lot of items (watches) listed as "to be sold without reserve".
    All auction houses whether virtual or brick and mortar allow sellers to establish a minimum or floor below which the piece won't be sold. Ebay enforces the reserve rule electronically at auction close by simply noting the item didn't make reserve. A brick and mortar auction house will usually say something subtle like "Pass" or more obvious like "The Item did not make reserve".

    Googling the phrase lead me to a legal dictionary which reads that "the courts will not enforce a contract against a purchaser".

    As the example given was referring to houses, I am wondering what does that mean for watches? That any bidder will have the option to walk away in a non-binding manner? That if you change your mind, you can call it off last minute?
    You copied only a small part and left important information that shows it deals with a special situation. Please go back and read it all.

    When you register at an auction you will sign an agreement which in essence says you agree to pay the auctioneer for items that you bid for. Don't bid unless you have done your homework on the item and are willing to pay for it. It's that simple.

  5. #5
    Member tom_hanx's Avatar
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    Thank you guys,

    So, basically there is no "floor" or bottom price. If an item is expected to go for 1500-2500 but is marked as "to be sold without reserve", then a bid at 1000 (given there are no other higher bids) should effectively win the item?

    Very, very useful information - thank you! :thanks
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    Member LouS's Avatar
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    A bid of $1 will win the item if no one else bids!

    While we are on the subject, anyone know if there is a convention for a relationship between the reserve price and the estimate? Obviously, reserve price ought to be below the lower estimate, but beyond that, is there any generally observed rule relating the two?

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    Member John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom_hanx View Post
    Thank you guys,

    So, basically there is no "floor" or bottom price. If an item is expected to go for 1500-2500 but is marked as "to be sold without reserve", then a bid at 1000 (given there are no other higher bids) should effectively win the item?

    Very, very useful information - thank you! :thanks
    There is no floor or bottom price in auctions that indicate it is to be sold without reserve. However, auction houses including Ebay may enforce a minimum opening bid amount, which is really a reserve that is announced to the public. Also, auction houses usually have minimum bid increments that may escalate as the price increases.

    Finallly some sellers use shill bidders to pump up the price to some minimum level. On Ebay shills are a common way for sellers to avoiding Ebay reserve fees. In addition to being used in the normal fraudulent way. That passage you quoted explained how shills were viewed in a court.
    Last edited by John MS; May 19th, 2010 at 16:11.

  8. #8
    Member tom_hanx's Avatar
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    That passage you quoted explained how shills were viewed in a court.
    My SAT vocabulary does not include "shills" and "puffers" Joking, I understand what you are saying

    :thanks
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    Re: Auction Lingo: What does "To be sold without reserve" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom_hanx View Post
    Thank you guys,

    So, basically there is no "floor" or bottom price. If an item is expected to go for 1500-2500 but is marked as "to be sold without reserve", then a bid at 1000 (given there are no other higher bids) should effectively win the item?

    Very, very useful information - thank you! :thanks
    I think the simple answer is :

    "To be sold without reserve" =

    If someone bids atleast the minimum bid amount (set by the seller)........it is going to sell no matter what, to the highest bidder, even if there is only 1 bid.

    minimum bid is the starting bid amount

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